A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

National census shows large demand, lack of resources for KY domestic violence programs

On September 13, 2017, Kentucky domestic violence programs served 962 adults and children.  However, a significant number of requests for help – 57 – went unmet because domestic violence agencies lacked the funding and staff to meet demand.

The data comes from the release of the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s 12th National Census of Domestic Violence Services.  The census was conducted on September 13, 2017, and all of Kentucky’s 15 regional domestic violence programs participated.

“This is a snapshot of a typical day at a domestic violence program in Kentucky,” said Sherry Currens, Executive Director of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  “Unfortunately, nearly 60 survivors or their children were unable to get help.”

During the 24-hour survey period, 962 Kentucky adults and children received domestic violence services, including: 570 victims who found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs, and 392 adults and children who received non-residential services, such as counseling, legal advocacy, transportation, financial literacy, employment assistance, childcare, and children’s support groups.

Of the 15 domestic violence programs, on census day, 93 percent provided children’s support or advocacy; 93 percent provided housing advocacy; 87 percent provided court accompaniment or legal advocacy; 80% provided substance abuse advocacy or support; and 67percent provided financial literacy and budgeting support.

“I overheard a client crying and sounding distraught. She hadn’t been able to find employment because she was 8 months pregnant, and she did not qualify for subsidized housing because of a past eviction her abuser caused. She felt like she had no options until a case manager referred her to our permanent supportive housing program,” one domestic violence advocate shared.

In addition, 142 calls were answered by regional crisis hotlines on September 13, averaging 6 calls every hour. All of these life-saving services were provided despite 50 percent of Kentucky’s domestic violence programs operating with less than 20 staff.

Many programs reported a critical shortage of funds and staff to assist victims who needed transportation, housing and emergency shelter, legal services, financial assistance, and mental health or substance abuse counseling. Kentucky’s 15 domestic violence programs have cut 6 staff positions in the past year, 67% of which were direct service staff.

Of the 57 unmet requests for help, 37 were from victims who needed emergency shelter or housing.  Programs cited government funding cuts as the primary barrier to meeting all requests for services.

More information about the National Census of Domestic Violence Services is available here.

The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV) provides a strong, statewide voice on behalf of survivors and their children. KCADV administers $9.5 million in state and federal funds to its 15 member programs, runs a Certification Program for all domestic violence program staff and operates an Economic Empowerment Program serving survivors across the state.

KCADV also advocates on domestic violence-related issues at the state and federal levels, coordinates an annual conference with the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault programs, and provides resources, training, and technical assistance to its member programs.

To learn more click here.

Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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